Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

kick the koch habit

A voting rights demonstrator carries an anti-Koch sign at a rally in New York City. (Photo: Michael Fleshman/Flickr/cc)

Another Backfire for Koch Brothers as Survey Shows Americans Actually Want Free College, $15 Minimum Wage, and Medicare for All

The results dealt an embarrassing blow to the right-wing agenda pushed by the billionaires' army of dark money groups

Jessica Corbett

Delivering yet another blow to the billionaire Koch Brothers' right-wing agenda, a survey conducted by In Pursuit Of, the pair's public relations firm, found that the majority of Americans support policies such as free public college, a $15 hourly minimum wage, and government-run healthcare—policies which the brothers often fight against using their army of dark money groups.

Slamming a RealClearPolitics summary published late last month—"which spun the results as favorable to the Koch network"—The Intercept on Thursday noted how the survey (pdf) actually revealed that "where the Koch brothers see government tyranny, most Americans see common-sense solutions to basic problems."

As the following graph outlines, the majority of people surveyed said they believe "healthcare reform that puts doctors and patients in charge," ending harsh sentences for nonviolent crimes, "government-paid college tuition," a $15 an hour minimum wage, stricter rules for Wall Street, and "increasing government assistance for childcare" are "very effective" or "somewhat effective" solutions to basic problems faced by millions of Americans.

"Ranked by Very Effective Solution"Very Effective SolutionSomewhat Effective SolutionNot a Solution at AllDon't Know
Enforcing equal rights for all53%31%10%7%
Healthcare reform that puts doctors and patients in charge50%33%8%10%
Ending cronyism that leads to corporate welfare37%35%10%18%
Ending harsh sentences for non-violent, petty crimes37%40%15%8%
Government-paid college tuition35%31%26%8%
A $15 minimum wage35%30%28%6%
More regulation of Wall Street33%36%15%15%
Increasing government assistance for childcare30%39%21%9%
A government-run healthcare system25%30%33%12%

Meanwhile, as The Intercept reports, Koch-backed groups and individuals have attacked free college as a "pie-in-the-sky" and terrible idea." They also "have campaigned against increases to city, state, and federal minimum wage laws, including lobbying Congress." Perhaps the most notable gap between the brothers' and the majority of Americans' beliefs is healthcare.

A full 92 percent of those polled expressed concerns about rising costs of healthcare, and 55 percent said a government-run healthcare system would be a very or somewhat effective solution, The Intercept points out before detailing the Koch network's efforts to bolster the nation's for-profit system:

The idea of government run health care would be completely intolerable to the Koch network. Koch-backed groups have campaigned against reforms, like the Affordable Care Act, that would place even limited controls on the private market and which provide government subsidies to enable the poorest to purchase insurance. The American Legislative Exchange Council, a state-level group that pushes model legislation, promoted a bill that pushed the Affordable Care Act into the courts. Generation Opportunity, the Koch student group, pushed students to not buy insurance, through expensive TV ads and campus events. Concerned Veterans for America, another Koch group, has campaigned to privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs through vouchers.

The Intercept's report on the survey follows a Koch-funded analysis targeting Medicare for All, which—in another embarrassing moment for the brothers—found that instituting such a healthcare system in the United States would not only cover all Americans but also save $2 trillion over ten years.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Because 'Publishing Is Not a Crime,' Major Newspapers Push US to Drop Assange Charges

"This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America's First Amendment and the freedom of the press," The Guardian, The New York Times, and other media outlets warned.

Jake Johnson ·


Sanders Vows to 'Stand With Rail Workers' as Republican Says Congress Will Prevent Strike

"Last year, the rail industry made a record-breaking $20 billion in profits," Sen. Bernie Sanders noted. "Meanwhile, rail workers have ZERO guaranteed paid sick days."

Jake Johnson ·


Massive Demonstration of Support for Lopez Obrador in Mexico City

AMLO was elected in 2018 and heralded as the Bernie Sanders of Mexico.

Common Dreams staff ·


Scientists Revive ‘Zombie’ Virus After 50,000 Years Trapped in Siberian Permafrost

Researchers documented 13 never-before-seen viruses that have been lying dormant, frozen in thick ice, over tens of thousands of years.

Common Dreams staff ·


'Cleaner Air Is Coming' as London Expands Vehicle Pollution Fee to Entire Metro Area

"Around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year because of long-term exposure to air pollution, with the greatest number of deaths in outer London boroughs," noted Mayor Sadiq Khan in announcing the expansion.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo